Portland General Electric (PGE) and its customers are celebrating a decade of being the nation's leaders in renewable energy during this year's National Clean Energy Week. With more than 204,000 customers voluntarily enrolled in its Green Future program, the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recently announced in its 2018 rankings that the PGE has the largest participation in a renewables program of any U.S. electric utility for the tenth year in a row.
The PGE received the NREL's No. 1 ranking for the highest number of business and residential renewable energy customers, with nearly twice the number of the second ranked electric utility. Over the 20‑year life of the program, Green Future customers have chosen low-carbon, renewable energy in support of a clean energy future for all.
The Green Future renewable energy program helps put more clean, local renewable energy onto the electric grid. In addition, the program gives back to communities by funding renewable energy projects through the PGE Renewable Development Fund. To date, the fund has contributed US$14 million in grants that support projects benefiting local communities, including a 302-kW solar array that is being installed at the Beaverton Public Safety Center.
The solar panels are expected to cover 40% of the building's annual energy usage. The city will apply its cost savings to the center's operations budget, making more funds available to better serve Beaverton residents. The solar panels will also operate as part of a microgrid which is designed to support uninterrupted emergency services to the community after a major earthquake or disaster.
The customer-funded renewable energy program has helped build more than 8 MW of new renewable energy generation in Oregon, with another 3 MW currently under construction. The PGE also received the No. 1 ranking for the most megawatt hours of renewable energy sold for the seventh consecutive year, with nearly two million megawatt hours in green power sales in 2018.
"Oregonians are at the forefront of the transition to clean energy," said Maria Pope, president and CEO of the PGE. "We're grateful that nearly a quarter of business and residential customers are choosing renewable power to combat the effects of climate change and invest in innovative clean energy solutions."
The PGE's energy mix is currently 40% carbon-free as the company advances its goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80% system-wide.
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